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Cablevision to Charge Customers Sports Fee in Cable Packages

Cablevision Systems Corp., the fifth-largest U.S. cable operator, will charge its customers an additional $2.98-a-month fee to pay for the rising cost of sports.

The surcharge will begin April 1, the company said in an e-mailed statement. Cablevision has about 3 million TV customers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania.

Pay-TV providers are increasing customers’ bills as costs climb for sports programming. Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS and DirecTV, which both compete with Cablevision, also began charging sports fees for New York subscribers in recent months. The FiOS fee is $2.42 a month. DirecTV’s is $2 for current New York subscribers and $3 for new users in the area.

“The rising cost of programming has resulted in this sports surcharge,” Bradley Feldman, Cablevision’s vice president of video product management, said in the statement. “We are very focused on the price our customers pay for our services.”

Cablevision hasn’t increased cable-TV prices for subscribers since late 2010. The Bethpage, New York-based company announced in December it would increase high-speed Internet prices this year by $5 a month.

The sports fee affects all Cablevision packages except Optimum Economy, a $39.95-a-month plan that doesn’t include most sports channels, and Broadcast Basic.

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